The ambitions, agreements, and actions contained in this Delta Plan on Spatial Adaptation can only be realised if all the governments engage in close collaboration on the higher goal, each based on their own responsibilities. That is the essence of the modus operandi within the national Delta Programme! This definitely involves seeking collaboration with private parties, NGOs, and citizens, not only to raise awareness of climate-proofing and improving the water-resilience of the Netherlands, but also to leverage societal energy optimally around this topic.
With respect to spatial adaptation, there is a strong focus on the efforts and commitment of all the provinces, municipalities, and district water boards. After all, the increase in waterlogging, heat stress, and drought is particularly felt locally and regionally.
For that reason, policy and measures will need to be formulated at the local and regional levels. In consultation with the district water boards, provincial and municipal authorities are setting down relevant frameworks in their Environmental Visions, under their responsibility for spatial planning. The municipalities will translate these Visions into environmental plans, in consultation with the district water boards. A tailored approach and collaboration between the governments is indispensable to attain all the spatial adaptation goals in the years ahead. No one can accomplish this on his own. At the local and regional levels, proper connections must be established between the spatial adaptation tasking and other spatial taskings, such as house-building and the energy transition. In all this, it is the responsibility of the central government to substantiate the spatial adaptation tasking that is linked to its own real estate, the main water system, and the main infrastructure. In addition, the central government bears responsibility for improving the resilience of the national vital and vulnerable functions to the consequences of climate change.
The implementation of the Delta Plan on Spatial Adaptation starts with municipalities and district water boards, which traditionally collaborate within the region managed by the district water board. With respect to rural areas, the provincial authorities join in under their overarching responsibility for spatial planning and nature. Rijkswaterstaat is a partner in issues involving the main water system. Any spatial interventions required will, as a matter of course, be incorporated into the provincial and municipal Environmental Visions and environmental plans. Such efforts will also be linked with other programmes (NAS, energy transition). It is up to the responsible administrators of the above governments to initiate such collaboration. This can and will differ from one region to the next. Some fine examples of such local and regional collaboratives already exist: regional projects such as the Invitation to the Southern Netherlands, Kop van de Betuwe, Rijk van Nijmegen, the northern Vechtstromen, the living labs in Dordrecht and Overijssel, and the Zeeland Climate Adaptation programme. A great deal of experience has also been amassed in the major cities. The local governments have made an agreement with the Delta Programme Commissioner to the effect that such collaboration will be realised nationwide by the end of the year (2017).
Furthermore, it is essential to establish a connection between the spatial adaptation efforts being expended by municipalities, district water boards, and provinces, and the national Delta Programme efforts under the supervision of the Delta Programme Commissioner. This is important to be able to monitor their progress, inter alia, in the purview of the annual report to be presented through the Delta Programme (a statutory duty of the Delta Programme Commissioner), but also to exchange experience and establish relations with the other Delta Programme taskings pertaining to flood risk management and freshwater supply. To this end, the parties involved in the Delta Programme Steering Group have agreed that they will tie in with the current Regional Consultative Bodies of the Delta Programme, on which all the government authorities of either the freshwater supply regions or the flood protection regions are represented. If need be, representation on these Regional Consultative Bodies will be amended to this end, for example, by involving local and regional administrators holding the spatial planning portfolio. By no later than 1 November 2017, a decision will be made regarding the freshwater supply regions and/or flood protection regions to be involved in the nationwide reporting line between the local and regional collaboratives and the national Delta Programme level. The Spatial Adaptation Steering Group serves as a consultative body to the National Delta Programme Steering Group in this respect.
With a view to the additional tasking this may entail, the staff of the Delta Programme Commissioner will earmark a limited budget (300,000 euros per annum, to be divided across the regions) for two years (2018 and 2019) to substantiate the expansion of the current role of the Regional Consultative Bodies, with a particular focus on involving the regional municipalities in the spatial adaptation tasking.
The point of departure for tackling spatial adaptation is the mapping out of vulnerabilities – insofar as these have not yet been identified – by conducting a “standardised” stress test in every municipality, as was also recommended by the Advisory Committee on Water in its recent advisory report on waterlogging. The outcomes of the stress test will be used to draw up an implementation agenda for measures, and formulate recommendations pertaining to the spatial domain in the purview of the provincial and municipal Environmental Visions. Subsequently, the parties will jointly address the ambitions and actions that have been formulated, working along the lines of the seven ambitions set out in the Delta Plan on Spatial Adaptation. The aim is to ensure that by 2020, climate-proof and water-resilient thought and action will have been fully embedded in the policies and implementation efforts pursued by municipalities, district water boards, provinces, and Rijkswaterstaat. Among other things, this means that from the outset, provinces and municipalities will incorporate the topic of spatial adaptation, in mutual coordination, into their Environmental Visions and environmental plans, based on their role as policy makers in the physical domain. The recommendations and insights provided by the district water boards will be taken into consideration from day one.